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Old 06-30-2014, 10:06 PM   #801
f4phantomii
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Originally Posted by Hawk296 View Post

Unfortunately that is what they are trained to do in other parts of the world. They are trained to operate the autopilot, not fly the airplane.
Perfectly stated.

I see the same thing happenning in FlightSafety courses...when they get in the sim they spend so much effort trying to figure out the guidance panel that the crews will spontaneously forget to fly the aircraft.

Its like watching someone try to drive in stop & go traffic using cruise control only, except the cruise control has 15 different modes. They get so busy trying to fiddle with it they don't use the brake to avoid rear ending the car in front of them.
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Old 06-30-2014, 10:19 PM   #802
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Originally Posted by f4phantomii View Post
Perfectly stated.

I see the same thing happenning in FlightSafety courses...when they get in the sim they spend so much effort trying to figure out the guidance panel that the crews will spontaneously forget to fly the aircraft.

Its like watching someone try to drive in stop & go traffic using cruise control only, except the cruise control has 15 different modes. They get so busy trying to fiddle with it they don't use the brake to avoid rear ending the car in front of them.
I've got a couple friends that instruct for a flight school here in Phoenix that trains cadet pilots for a few of the big foreign airlines. Some of the stories they've told me are truly frightening. The school itself averages better than one serious crash per year and it's always a result of one of the foreign students. I think the last one was because they left the gear retracted on landing. Just stupid stuff.
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Old 06-30-2014, 10:24 PM   #803
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The automation is awesome if you know how to use it. This crew obviously did not. Plus you need to be willing to take over and hand fly if you don't understand what the automation is doing for you.
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Old 06-30-2014, 10:53 PM   #804
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Plane noob here: Do the pilots use autopilot for touch-ground landing? If not, when do they take over?
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Old 06-30-2014, 11:04 PM   #805
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Most modern commercial planes can do auto landings. That's how they have to do it when the weather is the worst(ceilings and visibility). For a hand flown landing the pilot usually takes over somewhere between 1000 Ft and the approach minimums.
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Old 06-30-2014, 11:11 PM   #806
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The airport needs certain equipment for auto landings, right?
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Old 06-30-2014, 11:44 PM   #807
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The airport needs certain equipment for auto landings, right?
The airport, runway, and aircraft all need to be equipped and certified. The crew also needs special training and authorization.
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Old 06-30-2014, 11:48 PM   #808
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Originally Posted by FaastLegacy View Post
I've got a couple friends that instruct for a flight school here in Phoenix that trains cadet pilots for a few of the big foreign airlines. Some of the stories they've told me are truly frightening. The school itself averages better than one serious crash per year and it's always a result of one of the foreign students. I think the last one was because they left the gear retracted on landing. Just stupid stuff.
Some FAA guys did that to our aircraft at my old company. It's not just foreign pilots who are idiots.
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Old 06-30-2014, 11:54 PM   #809
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Originally Posted by FaastLegacy View Post
I've got a couple friends that instruct for a flight school here in Phoenix that trains cadet pilots for a few of the big foreign airlines. Some of the stories they've told me are truly frightening. The school itself averages better than one serious crash per year and it's always a result of one of the foreign students. I think the last one was because they left the gear retracted on landing. Just stupid stuff.
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Some FAA guys did that to our aircraft at my old company. It's not just foreign pilots who are idiots.
Too true. When I was stationed overseas our flight safety officer did that while at the mothership base. What's worse is that he was carrying an ECM pod on the belly rack at the time.
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Old 07-01-2014, 12:06 AM   #810
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The airport needs certain equipment for auto landings, right?
Yes....for CAT III landings you need infrastructure on the ground and the aircraft has to be equipped with a certain class of hardware that is accurate to min requirements. The autopilot system accuracies also have to be similarly spec'd....moreso than to just fly the plane from A to B.

For CAT II instrument approaches you need just about the same ILS equipment on the ground, but the aircraft equipment & autopilot are less accurate....and the pilot does the landing.

Part of the problem is the pilots use the autopilot to help them establish a stabilized approach and keep it engaged almost until touchdown. Some aircraft also have a flare cue to tell the pilot when & how much to flare.

They do that in lieu of learning to hand fly a nice stable approach on their own....something you learn early in flight training but seems to be abandoned the instant they step into a highly automated flight deck. And they are rarely ever asked to demonstrate a hand flown approach.

Couple that with a guidance panel that may have upwards of 20+ discrete modes and you start seeing not only automation being misused, but confusion about what its doing on top of that. Too easy to think its in one mode and it be in another.

Too easy to set a nice comfortable descent rate and forget the autopilot is controlling to a steady 500 ft/min descent and not a target altitude to capture and hold. Start looking at weather or other systems and next thing you know the ground prox is going off and you are wondering WTF is setting it off at FL100 when you are really at 1000ft AGL and still descending at that 500ft/min rate you set. Oh, and your engines are at idle with a 10-15 sec MCT spool up time.

Oops.

Or the crew will dial in to capture FL100 but really they set a 100ft/min descent. I've seen that error occur even when both pilots are required to look & agree the setting is correct.

Some of it also stems from the fact that even the highest end commercial & bizjet cockpits still have a guidance panel that looks like it came out of the 1960's. Four or five knobs & buttons below 7-segment LED displays. Indicator lamps & buttons that light up to tell you which one of those panels is actually flying the plane....and it may be a combination of them.
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Old 07-01-2014, 03:50 AM   #811
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You can do an autoland on a CAT1 signal, it may not be too pretty though (since glidepath/localizer antennae margins are not respected and can scallop the signal).

During that time at SFO the ILS and PAPIs (visual glidepath aids) were offline so arrivals were flying raw data visuals. That said, they would still have had a distance to touchdown generated by on board sources (gps/ins) and that is all your really need to cobble together some basic backup figures for a visual approach. Rule of thumb is your altitude should be 3x the distance plus a hundred feet (ie: for 5 miles: 53=15 hundred feet plus a hundred =1600'). Another one for vertical speed to maintain glidepath is half your groundspeed (then x10) so 200kt groundspeed should be 200/2=100 10= 1000feet per min to maintain a 3 descent path. These are basic sanity checks that you do at 15, 10, 5, 3 miles on a visual and you can see the pilot in the video never makes corrections in a way that indicates he understands how he is doing relative to the descent path he should be doing. The inappropriate FLCH mode change was just hand-over-eyes bad to watch but we've all done bonehead moves like that, esp when new on type... sometimes trying to salvage an approach isn't the best option though.
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Old 07-01-2014, 04:00 AM   #812
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I love CG re-enactments of aircraft accidents for some reason. Probably because of how detailed they are.
Too soon for a "WASTED" gif?
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